Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Stay Healthy During School

Posted on by in Health

Guest Blogger: Joe BaxterStay Healthy

You’ve got a large class load and are squeezed for time as it is. Throw in a cold or the flu and you might feel like all your hard work has just been for nothing. Who has time to be down sick and miss class and assignments? Not you or any of your classmates, for that matter. But despite that fact, you can’t go anywhere on campus without hearing the sound of people coughing and hacking.

Many assume there is really nothing they can do to prevent getting sick; it’ll either happen or it won’t. But that is not the case. Although the only way for a college student to completely avoid the risk of getting sick is to lock themselves away for a semester, that is just not an option.  So let’s take a look at some common sense approaches to staying healthy this year.

Causes of cold and flu among college students can be traced back to a few simple factors. Some of these are avoidable while others are not. They include:

  • Large gatherings of people
  • Lack of nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Lack of exercise

Large gatherings

Unless you’re taking all of your classes online from some isolated location, there is no way to avoid large gatherings of other people. Classes, public transportation, cafeteria lines, and sporting events are but a few of the many places you can pick up a bug. Since avoiding these gatherings is unrealistic, your only alternative is to follow the advice below to keep your immune system performing optimally.

Lack of nutrition

It’s all about keeping your immune system at peak performance. Eat right and regularly. As a student, it seems logical to buy out that extra time by skipping on meals or making due on less than nutritious convenient food. Also remember to keep yourself hydrated.

You already know this, but another way to keep your immune system strong is to get plenty of sleep. If you’re like most college students, you’re averaging about 6.5 hours of sleep a night. Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night increases your chances of getting sick compared to getting eight hours of sleep a night. That relatively small difference has a big impact on your immune system.

Lack of hygiene

With proper hygiene, you can up your odds of staying healthy. The most effective way to avoid germs is to wash your hands regularly. Use hand sanitizer for those times when you can’t wash your hands. In your dorm room or apartment keep surfaces clean and disinfected.

Lack of exercise

Make time to get up and move around. You don’t have to join a gym or spend hours sweating to reap the benefits of exercise and keep yourself healthy. Exercise is like a stimulant for your immune system. Studies show that people who simply walked for 30 minutes on most days reported one cold a year. In contrast, those that didn’t exercise reported up to four colds a year.  Do the math and figure out if you can buy out a little daily exercise.

Most colleges provide their students with access to a gym or workout facility. If pumping iron or basketball is not your thing, consider a simple stroll around campus. Avoid the sardine packed campus bus ride and walk to class instead. Not only will you feel better physically, you will find walking is also a great stress reliever.

Following these simple precautions can keep you healthy at school. If you do get sick and could benefit from medical attention, don’t hesitate to visit your campus health and wellness center.

About the Author

Joe Baxter worked in medical research for the majority of his life. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling abroad, working in his wood shop, and freelance writing about medical news.

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